By Yemi Itodo
As the heading suggests, I shall go straight to the point and in this first episode, I shall take us through the life and career of Evang. Peter Owoicho Otulu, the man who midwife the modern Idoma Gospel Music which everyone is enjoying today.
Meanwhile, it is very pertinent to say here that, even in her minorities, Idoma nation is blessed with great men and women in the entertainment industry.
Those who are fortunate enough have already made their ways through the valleys, with some making record breaking exploits, both within and outside Nigeria.
It is however very sad and unprintable that, the talent hub of the nation is gradually becoming a desert in the entertainment industry; thanks to the unpatriotic spirit and humanitarian deficiency among the people whom God has placed upon the land, to water the young seedlings and nourish the able stems.
Those who suffer it most are the Gospel Singers, whom God has used to minister and win many souls to His Kingdom.
A lot of us could still remember how the young, dynamic and vibrant 'AHAMA LO CHECHO' conner, Apostle Godshied Orokpo was catching fire in the late 90s and early 2000; he was practically becoming the Ron Kenoly of Nigeria.
All what Orokpo needed was just a little push from his kinsmen, but it never came; and today, the same Orokpo has been ordained a Bishop in a foreign land, where talents are harnessed and celebrated.
We also know that another Idoma star, Chris Morgan shook the entire world few years ago through his ever renewing track 'M LUNWALU DU GE NO, OWOICHO LEKUM YALUM E'; as famous as the music became, there was no coressponding force to shoot the young man into the realm he truly deserved.
The most annoying of all is the sorry story of a man who gave light to the modern day gospel music in Idomaland and founder of Idoma Christian Singers (ICS), fondly known as Peter Otulu.
Aside being used by God to save thousands of souls through gospel music and other avenues, Peter Otulu has also used his ICS training School in Ugboju to train hundreds of other upcoming Artists (at no cost), some of whom are making Idoma nation proud across the globe.
It is however ironical that the same man who has over 100 albums to his credit and well over 50 professional Artistes trained under him, is still struggling to meet up with some basic necessities of life, especially, as it concerns his career.
There is virtually nobody in Idomaland that has not listened to or been blessed by the wonderful and power packed lyrics of Peter Otulu.
Yet, it would shock you to know that the same Peter Otulu whom everybody is longing to see, has no digital studio, no standard equipments, no car of his own, among other necessities. The bus bought for him by former Chairman, Otukpo LG, Godwin Obla (SAN) is no longer roadworthy and it is in the state of disrepair.
Thus, Peter Otulu who started his music career exactly 40 years ago has now become a 'cash cow' for some Marketers, (most of whom are below 40 years) who now arrange studio for him to release his album, and the boys take over 70% of the proceeds.
The man who composed the most popular Idoma lyric 'OPECHI' in the year 1991 and sang it in 1992, has now been reduced to a local ballad Singer, wherefore, he is being invited for wake keeps and traditional marriages at village levels where he would end up spending over 120% of the booking fee on renting a vehicle to convey his equipments and other expenses.
In most cases, he would run deficit and would have to borrow money from his band crew to be able to reach home.
What readily comes to my mind each time I see how this great man of God passes through challenges is the comparison of him and the likes of Chief Ebenezer Obey of Evergreen Music and others who also started playing professional music about 40 years ago.
When I imagine the opulence and frequency of their operations - the state of the art digital studio sand musical equipments; the avalanche of foreign invitations; the fleets of exotic cars; the countless mansions and the attendant public recognitions and references; then I quickly remind myself that a wide gap exits between how Idoma people handle their celebrities and how other people do.
I also recognise the wide margin in how other tribes harness talents and human resources to the advantage of the larger society, and how Idoma people abandon talents at crude form.
Recently, King Sunny Ade, the King of Juju music turned 70 and the entire media was shut down with both young and old, past and present leaders, Idoma and other tribes queuing to book for advert, just to celebrate the Fuji icon.
Tomorrow, (Saturday 19th November 2016), Evang. Peter Otulu who started professional music in 1976, shall be celebrating his 40th anniversary in the music industry.
It also marks 40th anniversary of Idoma Christian Singers (ICS). The event which is being organised by some friends, will hold at the SS Peter & Paul Social Centre, Kubwa Express Road, Kubwa, Abuja, by 11 am.
Born on the 5th day of March, 1960 at Ogoli Ipugogbo in Ugboju district of the present day Otukpo Local Area, Benue State to Mrs. Etum and Elder Otulu Okoh, the great Idoma legend is now a grandfather.
A conk and undiluted adherent of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Evang Peter Owoicho Otulu has been a source of blessings to many generations, through whom the Idoma gospel music is having international recognition.
As we all roll our sleeves to dance to the great Idoma music concert holding tomorrow in honour of Peter Otulu, it should also strike our minds that those big names we celebrate in the entertainment industry didn't not arrive there by accident, the people made them.
Can this great man of God leave the event tomorrow fulfilled? Will the ICS still be the same after its 40th anniversary tomorrow?
Only Idoma people have the answers!For Advert: Call 08171607004, 09058228464 Follow us on Twitter @idomavoice, @idomanews Send us releases at firstname.lastname@example.org